Louis Henry Jordan.

Comparative religion, its adjuncts and allies online

. (page 17 of 52)
Online LibraryLouis Henry JordanComparative religion, its adjuncts and allies → online text (page 17 of 52)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


could not have secured the official imprimatur of the Eoman
Catholic Church ; ^ but, happily, that day is now past.
In the present instance, the Vicar- General of the Archdiocese
of Paris stands sponsor for this comprehensive exposition.
It may be that the aggressiveness of Protestantism in this
field has compelled a serious response on the part of the
Roman branch of the Christian faith ; ^ be that as it may,
the activity of Jesuit scholars has of late been conspicuous in
a department of research which they had previously been
wont to neglect. The surprise originally occasioned by this
departure has already ceased to exist ; nevertheless, one is
glad to be suppHed here with a formal enumeration of the
reasons why Catholics should give themselves con amove
to this study .3 But a genuine surprise, nevertheless, is
awakened by this treatise ; if the editor of it is really un-
fettered, alike externally and subjectively, how is it that,
when he professes to survey dispassionately the age-long
reign of multifarious human beHefs, the space assigned to
Christianity covers fully a third of the entire work ?

In fact, while this series of sketches — admirably fitted to
serve as a source-book for general reference — is warmly to be
commended, readers soon gather the impression that the
inquiry was instituted under the impulse of a definite and
inflexible purpose ! Such procedure is risky : yet it is upon
this very ground of ' risk ' that, strange as it may appear,
exception is taken by the editor to the now widely-current
employment of the comparative method.* Judged by its
own standard, however, this treatise cannot be pronounced
wholly blameless. What was the underlying motive which
resulted in the publication of these volumes ? Their pages

* Vide supra, p. 169.

* The relatively large number of manuals which have been prepared,
^luring the last four years, by Roman Catholic writers is a very significant
iact, well deserving of notice and emphasis.

' Cf. pp. 40-46. Cf. the similar testimony of Cyril C. Martindale : vide
infra, pp. 384-5; or of Herman Schell, Christus. Das Evangelium und seim
aveltgeschichUiche Bedeviung. Mainz, 1906. [Translated, ' The New Ideals
in the Gospel *. London, 1913.] * Cf. vol. i, p. 31.

BRICOUT, Ou en est VHistoire des Religions ? 177

supply answer to this question. ' Qui sait ? Demain peut-
^tre, le voeu de nos ennemis sera realise, et I'enseignement
de I'Histoire des Religions deviendra, chez nous, universel et
obligatoire. Nous ne devons pas nous laisser surprendre.
Le monde catholique semble, enfin, avoir compris que
I'etude des religions est pour nous, a I'heure presente,
d'urgente necessite \^

This is the radical defect of a work which, in many respects,
is able and serviceable. It is an open question whether it
ought not really to have been assigned to an entirely different
category .2 In the opening volume, in which the rehgions of
non-Christians are dealt with, the individual leaning and
limitations of the several writers seldom come into play.
The doctrine of a primitive revelation is indeed frankly
defended ; and it is added that ' cette revelation faite a la
premiere humanite n'a pas ete oubliee entierement *.^ But
when one advances into the second volume, the forecast of
the editor is entirely fulfilled : ' II va sans dire que les
rehgions juive et chretienne et I'histoire de I'Eglise catho-
hque seront etudiees en detail, et occuperont, dans ce musee
rehgieux, la place d'honneur qui leur revient '.* Ultimately
we come to a chapter in which La Transcendance du Judaisme
et du Christianisme is vigorously contended for, — although
such an argument is wholly out of place in a strictly scientific
survey. The genuine historian of rehgions never accepts
responsibihty for tabulating. reasons why 'la superiorite de
la rehgion d'Israel, du Christianisme, de I'Eghse catholique,
n'est pas niable '.^

Of the numerous scholars whose collaboration the editor
has secured, one may name MM. Bros, Capart, Dhorme, de
la Vallee Poussin, Habert, and Carra de Vaux. A special
feature of this work, moreover, is its extensive (yet dis-
criminative) Bibhographies. One of these hsts is appended
at the close of each chapter. It is a pity, however, that the
omissions here are so numerous, and that no attempt is made

^ Cf. vol. i, p. 45. 2 Vide infra, pp. 369 f . ^ c/. vol. i, p. 50.

* Cf. vol. i, p. 46. ' Cf. vol. ii, pp. 538-48. Vide infra, pp. 512 f.



to estimate the relative values of the authorities severally
quoted. Non-Catholic books are much in evidence ; but
(save as a useful catalogue for those who happen to be
Protestant scholars) the disproportionately large citation of
Catholic works is unfortunate. Another error that should
have been avoided is the excessive reference to French
authors. In this instance, however, an editorial explana-
tion is furnished to the reader : ' Nous indiquons . .. . de
preference les travaux de langue fran^aise, qui interessent
davantage la plupart de nos lecteurs '.^

Kene Dussaud, Elditeur de la Bevue de VHistoire des
Beligions, (Bibliotheque Historique des Rehgions.)
Paris : Ernest Leroux, 1914. Pp. vi., 292. Fr. 3.50.

MM. Rene Dussaud and Paul Alphandery, the accomplished
editors of a well-known critical Bevue, have undertaken to
supervise the publication of a new series of Handbooks
deahng with the History of Religions. Three volumes have
already been issued,^ and a fourth volume has been under-
taken by Professor van Gennep of Neuchatel.

The general purpose of the editors is to lay before thought-
ful readers, specially interested in this subject, a reliable
conspectus of the results which scholarship has thus far
attained. ' Nous demanderons aux specialistes qui menent
la vaste enquete sur les institutions et les faits rehgieux
de presenter eux-memes le fruit de leurs recherches '.^

A little further on, when emphasizing the strictly histori-
cal character of the sketches which follow, the editors
add this explanation : ' Cette bibliotheque historique des
religions ne vise pas a supplanter les manuels comme ceux de
M. Chantepie de la Saussaye et de M. Salomon Reinach.

^ Cf. vol. i, p. 47.

* Tomes ii and iii, entitled Pricis de Vhistoire des religions (Paris, 1915),
contain a translation of the Tiele-Soderblom Kompendium : vide infra,
pp. 194 f. 3 Cf. p. iii.

DUSSAUD, Introduction a VHistoire des Religions 179

Nous ne nous attacherons pas a un expose complet, et nous
chercherons plutot a traiter les questions actuelles dans la
science. C'est surtout de I'histoire que nous nous proposons
de faire : mais avec la preoccupation, soit dans Fetude des
croyances et de leurs formes systematisees que sont les
mythologies, soit dans I'expose des rites oraux et manuels,
d'elargir la base de la methode uniquement historique pour
atteindre, en tenant compte des phenomenes analogues, une
comprehension plus intime et plus continue '.^

The present volume inaugurates the series. It is intended
* a orienter le lecteur dans I'ensemble des croyances et des
rites, a le placer immediatement au coeur des problemes
essentiels, moins pour lui en fournir une solution que pour
I'amener a les discuter par lui-meme en I'initiant a la methode
comparative, tout en lui demandant de faire de cette derniere
un emploi judicieux. ... II se tiendra a egale distance du
rationalisme vulgaire et du mysticisme '.^

When one comes to examine the book itself, it seems to be
open to the criticism which has greeted the volume Dr. Toy
recently published.^ While the editors of this new series
enter a warning against the abuse of the ethnographical
method,* the writer of the present monograph fails to escape
the pitfalls incident to an excessive use of the anthropological
method. His opening chapter is entitled ' Naturisme, Ani-
misme, Preanimisme ', and practically every sentence of it
belongs to a discussion of Anthropology.^ The second chap-
ter deals with Totemism, another distinctively anthropo-
logical topic. Chapter iii expounds what the author holds
to have been man's primitive conception of religion, viz.
the principle of life (jprincipe de vie),^ another theme

' Cf. p. iii. « Cf. p. iv.

^ Cf. Crawford H. Toy, Introduction to the History of Religions : vide
infra, pp. 195 f.

* Cf. p. V. 5 Vide supra, pp. 3 f.

" One finds outlined here a curious and debatable theory, hardly to have
been expected in a book of this sort. Yet this speculative hypothesis under-
lies the contents of the entire volume ! An historic science ought to be con-
tent to confine itself to facts.



of the same general class. The rest of the book may be
said to belong, in the main, to Comparative Theology ; it
seeks to formulate the early ideas of men of different races
concerning the soul, deities, temples, sacrifices, prayer,
rites of initiation, taboos, rites of the dead, moral con-
ceptions, etc.

If this book had been called * Discussions Preliminary to
a Study of the History of Eeligions ', one could have found
in it little or nothing to object to. On the contrary, regarded
from this standpoint, it must in justice be pronounced an
exceedingly useful Manual. For students of Comparative
Keligion, it will prove especially helpful ; the writer handles
with conspicuous ease and discrimination an immense amount
of lore derived from acquaintance with the rehgious usages
of China, Egypt, Persia, India, Greece, Eome, and many other
lands. In so far as M. Dussaud has aimed at securing a
clearer and more reliable conception of religion in itself
— * I'enchainement et la complexity des faits rehgieux, et
la valeur des rites essentiels ',^ — he has achieved a well-
merited success. As the best available definition, based upon
his laborious researches, the writer concludes that ' une
religion est constitute par un ensemble organise de croyances
et de rites qui se propose d'accroitre et de perpetuer le
principe de vie de I'individu, du groupe et de la nature '. ^
On the other hand, if offered as a systematic Introduction to
the History of Eeligions, this book restricts itself far too
much to purely auxihary questions. When one closes the
volume, he finds himself still standing outside the door of
a structure within which he had hoped to be conducted, and
thereafter permitted to secure a bird's-eye view of its numer-
ous and fascinating treasures. A Handbook whose contents
conformed more closely to its title would have proved most
serviceable to those who, on the eve of entering upon a serious
study of the religious beliefs of mankind, were anxious to
gain a glance over the domain which they were presently to

» Cf. p. V. 2 Cf. p. 290.

GEDEN, Studies in the Religions of the East 181

Shenington Geden, Tutor in Hebrew and Biblical
Literature at the Wesleyan College, Kichmond. (Uni-
versity of London.) London : Charles H. Kelly, 1913.
Pp. XV., 904. 12s.

In this large and scholarly tome. Professor Geden com-
bines and ampHfies the contents of two earlier and very-
useful volumes.^ All three books have grown out of the
successive courses of lectures which, as Tutor at the Wesleyan
College, the writer has been preparing and revising during
the last two decades. Within that time, the accumula-
tion of additional material has been almost overwhelming ;
the author's own conceptions have undergone considerable
change ; and the general attitude of beHevers in individual
faiths has been immeasurably broadened. Hence the pre-
sent book is really a new work, re-written and expanded
throughout. Entirely new matter has been added in sections
devoted to Shintoism, Confucianism, and Taoism.

The opening chapter deals with the origins of reHgion.
Strictly speaking, this discussion — ^with its survey of Ani-
mism, Fetishism, Totemism, etc. — belongs rather to a study
of Anthropology 2 than to an exposition of the History of
KeHgions. Dr. Geden, apparently, holds a different view ;
he even groups the study of origins and Comparative EeHgion
under a single heading ! ^ Yet, in one of his earlier volumes
— and here afresh^ — he enters a vigorous protest against
making Comparative Kehgion ' a mere inquisition into
origins, and primitive usage or beUef ; it is like judging of
the perfect fruit by a dissection of the immature embryo '.^
It must frankly be said that, throughout an initial chapter

* Cf. Studies in Comparative Religion. London, 1898 ; and Studies in
Eastern Religions. London, 1900. * Vide supra, pp. 3 f.

' Cf. p. 1. Indeed ' History of Religions ' and ' Comparative Religion '-
are used as if they were identical in meaning. The former designation does
not occur even once in the Index, whilst the latter is mentioned again and

* ^f- PP- viii, 4, etc. * Cf. Studies in Comparative Religion, p. x.


which covers more than fifty pages, there seems to be a some-
what indefinite perception of the bomidaries of contiguous
fields, and a consequent blurring of the Hnes that keep them
individually asimder.^ In 1898, Professor Geden was ready
to apologize for adding * another book to the rapidly growing
literature of Comparative Kehgion, already abundantly
furnished with handbooks and introductions ! ' ^ As a matter
of fact, the first text-book of Comparative ReHgion Proper
has yet to make its appearance.^

The faiths which are dealt with, each being critically
examined in turn, are the Egyptian reHgion, Babylonian
and Assyrian reHgion, Brahmanism and Hinduism (which
are treated with special fullness),* Buddhism,^ Jainism,
Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism,^ and
Muhammadanism.' It will be observed that — quite after
the manner of Professor Chantepie de la Saussaye's Lehr-
buch der Beligionsgeschichte ^ — neither Judaism nor Chris-
tianity finds mention in this catalogue ; nevertheless, both
are continually cited in these pages by way of com-
parison or illustration. * In the proportion and method of
treatment, the decisive consideration . . . has been the
comparative importance of each faith in human history, and
its influence in the formation and edification of a moral
and religious Hfe.' ^ If Judaism and Christianity have been
omil ted, it is only because their inclusion would have neces-
sitat ed the addition of a second volume, and would not really
have secured much advantage beyond that which has been
gained already.

Professor Geden's book is heartily welcome. In aim and
literary style, it is emphatically a ' popular ' text-book.
Notwithstanding its considerable bulk, it never loses its hold

• Vide supra, pp. 37 and 164, and infra, pp. 510-11.
' Cf. Studies in Comparative Religion, p. viii.

" Vide infra, p. 516. * Cf. pp. 185-431. ' Cf. pp. 432-593.

• Only 30 pages ! ' Cf. pp. 718-881.

• It is elsewhere stated that in the fourth edition of the Lehrhuch der Be-
ligionsgeschichte, now in course of preparation, this omission will be supplied :
vide supra, pp. 169 and 189. ' Cf. p. viii.

GEDEN, Studies in the Religions of the East 183

upon the reader. At the same time, its footnotes, its brief
Bibliographies at the close of each chapter, and its Indices,
add immensely to its effectiveness in the estimate of the
more serious class of students. It will certainly lend impulse
to the present widespread desire to gain a closer acquaintance
with the varied faiths of mankind. It will inevitably widen
the circle of those who are coming to appreciate, more and
more, the * rehgious character and aspirations and needs of
the peoples of the East '?■ It will lead not a few to discern
* how much of living interest and importance is to be found *
in these rehgions, and to ' interpret with greater sympathy
and insight the manifold endeavours of the human mind and
heart to gain a knowledge of the truth '.^

MANISCHE KELIGION, herausgegeben von Paul
Hinneberg. Leipzig : B. G. Teubner, [2nd edition],
1913. Pp. X., 287. M. 8.

In Die Kultur der Gegenwartj as outhned in its Prospectus,
provision was made for deahng amply with the Beligions of
mankind. Accordingly, in the first general division of that
work, there stands a large volume devoted to the Christian
religion ^ and a much smaller one allotted to the non-Chris-
tian faiths.^ It is the latter of these two treatises which is
to be dealt with here, and which is now introduced under
an altered title.

The contents of this book are substantially the same as
in the original edition. That is to say, the writers entrusted
with the exposition of the beginnings of rehgion, primitive
rehgion, the Egyptian rehgion, the Babylonian-Assyrian
rehgion, Brahmanism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism,
Islam, Lamaism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, etc.,
have not been changed. It would be hard indeed to enhst

» Cf. p. xi.

* Cf. Die christUche Religion, mit Einschluss der israelitisch-judischen
Religion. Berlin, 1906.

' Cf. Die orientcUischen Religionen. Berlin, 1906.


the services of critics more competent than Professors Leh-
mann, Erman, Bezold, Oldenberg, Goldziher, De Groot, etc.
Their essays, notwithstanding, have been revised and im-
proved, and brought again quite up-to-date.

At the same time, two entirely new sections have been
incorporated in the text. First, a well-proportioned dis-
cussion entitled Die orientalischen Beligionen in ihrem Einfluss
auj die euwpdische Kultur des Altertums has been contributed
by M. Franz Cumont, while Die altgermanische Beligion is
masterfully interpreted by Professor Andreas Heusler.
These appended papers involve the addition of twenty pages
to the size of the volume.

No comment is called for, especially at this late date,
touching the merits of these successive and deeply interesting
expositions. All of them are written with care, skill, and
a finely discriminative judgement. Students of Comparative
Kehgion should not fail to keep this volume within con-
venient reach.

CHEISTUS. Manuel d'histoire des religions, par
Joseph Huby, S.J., Professeur au Scolasticat d'Ore
Place, Hastings. Paris : Gabriel Beauchesne et C^^,
1912. Pp. XX., 1,036. Fr. 7.

Another Manual, in origin and character almost identical
with one which has already been examined,^ has recently
appeared. Already it has passed into a revised and cor-
rected edition. In size, it is much more compact than its
predecessor ; printed upon thinner paper, it has been quite
easy to bring its contents within a single volume. Its con-
tributors, as before, are Eoman Catholic speciahsts in the
study of religion. Professor Louis de la Vallee-Poussin
writes for both pubHcations, — in the former one upon Les
Beligions de Vlnde,'^ and in the present one upon Bouddhisme
et Les Beligions de Vlnde.^ Monseigneur Le Eoy discusses

* Cf. Ou en est Vhistoire des religions ? : vide supra, pp. 175 f.

• Cf. ibid., vol. i, pp. 229-88. » Cf. pp. 220-97.

HUBY, Christus 185

Les Populations de Culture inferieure,^ Professor Huby deals
with La Beligion des Grecs,^ Father Martindale treats of
La Beligion des Bomains,^ while Father Condamin interprets
La Beligion des Bahyloniens et des Assyriens.^ La Beligion
des Chinois^ and Les Beligions du Jajpon^ are described
respectively by M. Leon Wieger and M. Joseph Dahlmann,
both of whom have served as missionaries in the foreign field.
This earUer portion of the book is well done, and merits
unstinted praise.

As in the case of M. Bricout's Manual, a very large section
of the present work is reserved for an exposition of La
Beligion d' Israel '^ and La Beligion chretienne.^ Indeed, the
very title of the volume, and its frontispiece portrait of
Christ, proclaim that — ^hke its forerunner — it views the
whole situation from the standpoint of ' the Christian
Eehgion, and the Church in which it is incarnated and by
which it is propagated '.

The general criticism which has been apphed to M. Bri-
cout's undertaking — the recognition of its good quaHties,
and equally the necessity of exercising caution when accept-
ing its dicta — is no less valid in the case of M. Huby's useful
book. The presentation it offers of Protestantism, while
very inadequate, is not intentionally unfair ; nevertheless,
it is the mistaken conception of men who view it — as, in the
last analysis, one must view all ahen faiths — from the out-
side. The need of unsleeping vigilance when one is engaged
in the study of rehgion receives here anew a very significant

Bibhographies are suppHed, chapter by chapter. Of wide
range and fairly full, they deserve cordial commendation.
The citation of a great number of Eoman Catholic authori-
ties was to have been expected, but it has been somewhat
overdone ; in this respect, also, the exception taken to
M. Bricout's work holds good.^

1 Cf. pp. 48-94. 2 cf. pp. 298-349. » Cf. pp. 350-406.

* Cf. pp. 501-40. ^ Cf. pp. 95-120. * Cf. pp. 121-60.

' Cf. pp. 586-676. « Cf. pp. 677-1016. • Vide supra, pp. 177-8.


by Cyril Charlie Martindale, S.J. 5 vols. London :
The Catholic Truth Society, 1910-1911. Pp. vii., 252,
248, 256, 256, and 248. 6s.

Mr. Martindale's large undertaking has been carried to
a successful completion. He happily secured the assistance
of several British experts, and of French and German
scholars as well. As regards his Continental helpers, we
encounter names which appear and reappear in two of the
pubHcations which have previously been reviewed,^ e. g. de
Grandmaison, de la Vallee-Poussin, J. Huby, etc. etc.

In many respects, these volumes closely resemble Christus ^
in their range and aim. In point of contents, the resem-
blance sometimes amounts to identity ; for several portions
of Mr. Martindale's work are admittedly mere translations of
French or German originals.^ The two series cover, in a well-
informed and attractive way, the whole field of the History
of Religions. They make appeal, and very effective appeal,
to the general reader ; at the same time, they embody with
accuracy the leading facts which characterize and differen-
tiate man's many and varied faiths. It is when inferences
come to be drawn, and when questions of dogma arise, that
one must stand instantly upon his guard. To most editors,
for example, — ^unless in the case of a book intended for
a purely Roman Catholic constituency — it would surely seem
inadvisable to invite a Jesuit Father to furnish an account of
Luiheranism ^ or Preshyterianism ! ^

Perhaps the most interesting chapter in these volumes —
it is by far the longest of them all — is the one in which the
editor himself expounds The Cults and Christianity, Inas-
much, however, as separate treatment must be accorded to

* Vide supra, pp. 175 f . and 184 f. ^ Vide supra, pp. 184 f.

' Cf. Christum, chapter i, with Lectures, toI. i, chapter i ; Christus, chapter
iii, with Lectures, vol. i, chapter ii ; Christum, chapter iv, with Lectures, vol. v,
chapter ii ; etc. etc.

* Cf. vol. iv, pp. 97-129. ^ Cf. vol. iv, pp. 161-93.

MAETINDALE, The History of Religions 187

this paper elsewhere/ reference to it may fittingly be post-
poned meanwhile.

The Bibliography appended to each chapter is compre-
hensive, and (on the whole) well selected. A good Index
has been supplied in the closing volume.

HISTOKY OF KELIGION. A Sketch of Pbimitive
Keligious Beliefs and Practices, and the Origin
AND Character of the Great Systems, by Allan
Menzies, Professor of Biblical Criticism in the University
of St. Andrews. London : John Murray, [4th edition],
1911. Pp. xvii., 440. 5s.

Professor Menzies's book still holds the high place it im-
mediately won for itself just twenty years ago.^ In the
interval, it has frequently been reprinted ; but it has also,
more than once, been carefully revised. In the fourth
edition, recently issued, quite a number of changes have been
introduced. Although for the most part these alterations
are brief and slight, they are by no means to be accounted
immaterial. With the additions made to the successive
groups of Bibliographies, the exposition of the subject has
now been brought thoroughly up-to-date.

The introductory portion of this Manual, deahng with
' The Eehgion of the Early World ', has often been com-
mended ; in its latest form, it is more than ever worthy of
praise. Neither Judaism nor Christianity has been omitted

Online LibraryLouis Henry JordanComparative religion, its adjuncts and allies → online text (page 17 of 52)